4 Common Car Accident Injuries That May Need Back Surgery
Car accidents are dangerous. Cars, even compact cars are enormous so whenever they strike something, even if the car isn’t going fast, could potentially hurt someone when it crashes, and the simple truth is that speed and drunk driving is a factor in most car accidents. The faster the vehicles involved in the accident are going in the seconds before impact, the better the odds are that the human passengers will get hurt.
It’s incredibly common for someone to suffer a back injury during a car accident. Not only are back injuries following a car accident common, but they’re also often life-changing. A car accident attorney can help you maximize your claim.
Here are the four most common back injuries a passenger will experience when they’re involved in a car accident.
Everyone who has ever seen an example of a spine knows that there are several vertebrae that appear at regular intervals along the entire length of the spine. What is less well known, is that between each vertebra there is a small, fluid-filled disc. The primary function of these discs is to serve as shock absorbers. It’s common for the sheer force of a car accident to force one or more of these discs out of place so that they bulge outwards. This condition is called a bulging disc.
Symptoms of bulging disc include:
- Back spasms
- Pain that grows worse when you move (intense pain when sneezing is a symptom of a bulging disc)
- Numbness in your extremities
- Difficulty with bladder and bowel control
- Reduced mobility
Back surgery isn’t usually the first thing doctors turn to when a patient comes to them with a bulging disc following a car accident. Before attempting to use surgery to repair a bulging disc, it’s likely that your doctor will recommend another, less invasive treatment which could include:
- Physical therapy
- Chiropractic treatment
- Epidural Steroid Injections
If these treatment options don’t work, your doctor may suggest back surgery to correct the bulging disc. These types of surgeries include:
- Artificial disc surgery
- Spinal fusion
Despite what some people think, bulging discs and herniated discs aren’t the same things. When someone is diagnosed with a herniated disc following a car accident it means that the stress they sustained during the collision applied so much pressure to the disc that instead of simply bulging to one side, the disc actually ruptured.
It’s possible for a person who suffered a back injury during a car accident to start off with a bulging disc that quickly worsens until it herniates.
Symptoms of a herniated disc include:
- Severe Pain
- Muscle spasms
- Muscle weakness
- Sciatic pain
- Overactive reflexes
- A burning sensation
- Hand numbness
- Neck stiffness
- Lack of bowel control
The exact treatment for a disc that is herniated during a car accident varies depending on the severity of the herniation, how many discs are involved, and the injury’s location.
Possible treatments include:
- Physical therapy
Spinal Cord Injury
The term spinal cord injury is used to describe any injury that directly impacts the actual spinal cord. When you’re diagnosed with a spinal cord injury following an accident, it means that either the spinal cord itself or the nerves at the end of the spinal canal have become compromised.
Spinal cord injuries are always a worry and it’s often difficult to tell just how badly injured the spinal cord is until a significant amount of time has passed. In some cases, the damage is minor and corrects itself. In other cases, the spinal cord injury results in permanent paralysis.
Treatment for spinal cord injuries includes:
- Medication to reduce pain and swelling
- Physical therapy
It’s not uncommon for a person to fracture a vertebra in a car accident. It’s important to understand that just because you’ve been diagnosed with a fractured vertebra, it doesn’t mean you’ll suffer from paralysis for the rest of your life. If the spinal cord isn’t damaged, it’s highly likely that you’ll make a full recovery.
Fractured vertebrae are diagnosed with x-rays and other forms of digital imaging. The location and severity of the fracture will determine how the doctor decides to treat your condition. Possible treatments range from several weeks of bed rest, the medications, to surgery.
Back injuries are always complicated and expensive. In most cases, you won’t be able to work while you recover from the back injuries you sustained during your accident. A good personal injury lawyer will take on your case and deal with all the legal aspects of getting you a fair settlement so that you can direct all of your attention towards healing.